There is a lot of talk about customer profiles or customer personas nowadays.  You may wonder what the real purpose of these endeavors are.  After all, if you’re in business you know who your customer is right?

Customer Profile

Well, not necessarily.  The purpose of these types of activities is multifaceted.  One, you may think you know who your customer is, but maybe having difficulty connecting with them.  A customer profile can help you to look more in depth as to who your customers are.  What their demographics and psychographics are, beyond that they have purchased your product.  It looks for answers to the question of why did they purchase? Where are they getting their information about your company and products from?  How are you engaging them?  You may want to say that you know your customers, but do you really?  You may be targeting one group but have found a purchasing base somewhere totally unexpected.  For you to be able to better market and engage with your desired target, or this secondary audience, you need to understand exactly who they are.

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Two, you may not know who your buyers are, or your product/service may not have been rolled out yet so going through a customer profile exercise will allow you to develop the desired target audience so that you can focus your marketing and outreach campaigns. Moving forward with a direction and focus will allow you to quickly see if your marketing endeavors are producing the desired results.  If you don’t have a clear focus you can end up spending time and money trying to reach everyone and never making the connection with the people who would purchase from you.

Pains & Gains

Third, having made a study of your customer you can now take it a set further and start to examine their pain points and look for ways that you can provide your customers with relief to these issues. (Strategyzer) As well as, how your product or service could provide them gains of some sort. Once you start to understand the motivations behind your consumer maybe you can develop value propositions that will show the benefits in terms of value that your product/service are providing. Customers are no longer purchasing solely based on price, they are looking for value, and experience, the ability to part of something larger. If you can make a connection to them on an emotional level, you have moved beyond the realm of price competition into value-based purchasing.

Customer Journey

Fourth, once you have determined who your customer/user is you can develop the desired user experience. This is the process of examining every step along their journey.  It starts with how they are introduced to your company, product or service.  Follow them to the when/why they make a purchase.  It extends through the post-purchase period where they are actively engaged with you. Do the products/services meet their expectations? Does the company stand behind what they provide? How do you handle complaints? How do you encourage happy customers to repurchase or to become ambassadors for you? Are you expressing the value of the product/service – not a price, but a value it time, experience, social connection?  Do you continue the engagement past the point of the sale, or do you abandon them once money has changed hand?  (Harvard Business Review)